PITTSBURGH- The Pittsburgh Panthers improved their record to 3-3 on the year this evening with a 83-61 win over the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights.
Pitt started a little slow, a reoccurring theme so far this year, before pulling away in the second half, shooting a remarkable 76.9% from the field.
Leading the charge tonight for the Panthers was a combination of G Jamarius Burton with (18-7-4) as well as F John Hugley IV (17-5-0)
The first half started out as they all seem to for Pitt, slow on the offensive end. With FDU playing an aggressive brand of defense the Panthers took a little bit of time to break it down, starting the game 3-10 from the field. The good news? The Knights could not break down Pitt’s defense either and were unable to take advantage of the weak start.
With the Panthers the significantly taller team, the Knights attempted to rely on outside shooting to create offense but were unsuccessful, shooting a woeful 2-14 (14.3%) from three. Nobody stuck out offensively for the Knights, with G Heru Bligen leading the squad with 6 points on the half.
For Pitt, John Hugley IV ran the show. With 9 points and 4 boards on the half, Hugley IV took advantage of a massive size differential between himself and the front court options of Fairleigh Dickinson.
While not looking phenomenal, Pitt did just enough to get ahead and stay ahead for the majority of the first half, leading 35-28 at the break.
The second half was an entirely different story. Jeff Capel’s half time adjustments were made clear quickly as the Panthers shifted away from the three ball, instead taking higher percentage shots inside. As a team the Panthers shot 20-26 (76.9%) from the field.
Fairleigh Dickinson’s press was being dissected by effective passes from the Panthers back court to the benefit of players like Hugley IV, Jorge Diaz Graham, and Burton. Strong inside play, along with midranges taken right over the top of shorter defenders was the key to success for the Panthers.
While Pitt picked it up offensively, so did FDU. They shot 50% from three and 40% from the field, noted improvements from the first half but still not nearly enough to keep pace with a red hot Panther squad.
- Pitt nearly doubled FDU in points in the paint, winning that battle 38-22 as well as out-rebounding their NEC foes 49-22. This win is a credit to strong performances on the boards and in the paint.
- The Panthers really have become something of a second half team, it would be good for them to be a both halves team instead.
- Jamarius Burton is proving to be more important to this team that originally expected, and might find himself in ALL-ACC team consideration if he keeps this up and limits turnovers.
- Nelly Cummings consistently has the best +/- on the team without having very notable box score stats, credit to his impact in all facets of the game.
POINTS: Burton (18)
REBOUNDS: Sibande (what?) (8)
ASSISTS: Cummings/Burton (4)
Pitt takes on William & Mary this Friday (Nov 25th) at 7 PM in Pittsburgh.